Binga district in Matabeleland North province has been hit by floods affecting a number of families whose homes were destroyed. According to the Civil Protection Unit (CPU), one person was swept away by the floods while 34 families that were marooned have since been rescued.
Efforts are underway to move more families to areas of safety while at the same time mobilising food and other materials to assist the affected families. Most families in the district are accommodated in pole and dagga huts which are sub-standard structures that are easily destroyed in the event of heavy rains like what has been received in most areas during the past few days.
The CPU director Mr Nathan Nkomo said food and non-food items that include kitchen utensils, blankets and tents have been mobilised to assist the affected families.
The acting Secretary for the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works Mr Christopher Shumba said the emergency services sub-committee had mobilised two helicopters and ZRP Sub-Aqua Unit to assist in the evacuation of the marooned villagers.
He said the CPU’s immediate task was the quick evacuation of affected families to areas of safety and mobilisation of food and non- food items. He said the CPU was also monitoring the general health and welfare of the people for possible outbreak of waterborne diseases.
Mr Shumba said the long- term measures included possible relocation of affected families backed by robust rural housing delivery programme to address the issue of sub-standard materials used to construct houses. Zimbabweans locally and abroad as well as friends of Zimbabwe from across the globe have in the past responded overwhelmingly to such appeals for help and we therefore have every reason to count on them.
Zimbabwe is still recovering from the devastating effects of tropical Cyclone Idai which killed several people in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts of Manicaland province. What worsened the situation in Chipinge and Chimanimani districts was the sub-standard materials used to construct houses and is the same problem in Binga district.
There is therefore an urgent need to address the issue of sub-standard materials used to construct houses in most rural areas in order to minimise the effects of floods.
Government can come up with a housing programme whereby families are provided with loans to enable them to build durable houses that can withstand the vagaries of weather. There is also need to relocate families settled in low lying areas especially in flood prone districts such as Binga and Muzarabani in Mashonaland Central province.
The devastating effects of Climate Change are now with us and we have to come up with measures to mitigate the effects. There is also need to equip the CPU at all levels to enable the unit to promptly respond to distress calls.